GA - 2015
I got Jay Jay in 2008 after losing my boy Jazz at the end of a three year battle with an immune system disease. We had found a wonderful internal medicine Vet that gave Jazz three years of high quality life. The treatment and meds cost a small fortune, but I had a good job and was able to take care of his needs. Jazz lived to be 12 years old and passed quickly and comfortably when his time came.
After the long battle with Jazzys health issues I intended to give myself a six month grieving period before looking for another dog. However I missed Jazzy so much that when a friend told me about the litter of Beagle puppies 200 miles southeast of Atlanta that needed homes… I was hooked. This was because the disease that plagued Jazz was found predominantly in urban areas. So the prospect of getting a pup from such a rural area was too good to me pass up. After a fourteen hour round trip, Jay Jay (Jazz Jr. ) was home.
JJ quickly became the most important part of my world as I lived alone and never had any children. I took him everywhere. Even to Dr.s appointments and the grocery store. He was such a sweet and happy puppy that no one ever said “no dogs allowed” to JJ. Unfortunately I became seriously ill in 2009, and lost my job and eventually my home. JJ and I went to stay with my sister and her family in Philadelphia. I hated the cold weather and lack of "green areas" for JJ but we made the best of it. Through that very difficult time JJ and I became even closer. My time with him was my only good times. I only left him when I had too. I wanted to be with him as much as possible.
It was after our third winter in Philadelphia that I first noticed a growth on JJ's paw. I took him to the vet that said it was most likely from a piece of rock salt being caught in his pad. The growth was removed in May 2014. The Vet said it was easy surgery and after a healing period should be a done deal. We returned to the Atlanta area last summer. We were both really happy to be home. Especially JJ who had all kinds of opportunities to be outside in the green environment. Sadly, in the fall the paw that had had the growth began to swell and eventually a second lump began to grow aggressively.
One vet sent us to another who told me the growth was Cancer. My heart stopped. Not Cancer. The same devil that took my Mother and sister at age 51 was now going to take my boy. The one who had been there for me through my illness and bankruptcy was going to be sick and then die. I was crushed. But my Dad reminded me that I had to "be there for him as he has been there for me", and I got my perspective back and prepared to fight. The medical options were chemo therapy and radiation. Not only was this option financially impossible but my Dad and a second person I trust had both been through that with their dogs and said they would not do it again based on the outcomes. The only other chance was to remove the tumor have it analyzed.
JJ had that surgery and healed rapidly. He seemed very happy to be rid of that tumor and was playful and active. I thought "Maybe we're ok". Then we got the results of the pathology report. It was as bad as it could be. The Vet recommended amputating JJ's whole leg ASAP. I was terrified. Where would they cut it off? Could he get along without it? Worst of all, I was financially drained from the surgery and after care. I was determined to find help for JJ. At the suggestion of the Vet, I began to search the Internet for organizations that help people help their pets in trouble.
This is how I came upon the website for the Brown Dog Foundation. There was an intensive application process. I hoped but never believed we would find help. I was near distraught as a copy of the lab report was an attachment to the application and it said without amputation JJ would die in approximately 140 days.
Everything changed when we received word from BDF that we qualified for help.
JJ had his leg amputated on April 1. After a couple of days in the hospital I went to pick him up. I was frightened. How would he walk? How much wound treatment was needed? I expected that he was going to come out in a wheelchair. To my amazement JJ came walking out - a bit worse for wear but walking and happy to be going home.
Well a month has gone by and JJ is better by the day. He takes his walks a little slower and gets tired more quickly. But he's here and happy and still the same JJ. To say thank you to BDF is a complete understatement. The caring and counsel that I received was so important to me getting through this crisis. And of course, we thank BDF and their donors for giving my boy a chance at life. You are in our hearts and prayers every day. We look forward to being able to transition from recipients to donors.
Most sincerely, David and Jay Jay
PUPdate, September 15, 2018: "I'm very happy to share that, at this point, Jay Jay is doing well. He's regained all of the weight he'd lost, and at the vet last week they couldn't believe how great he looked!"